3D Print

3D Print | www.sproutingbalance.com | University of Toronto Makerspace at UTSC including 3D printer | #3D #print #utsc #library

As a University of Toronto Scarborough Campus alumni, I get the UTSC Commons magazine updating all on the adventures of other alumni, the staff and the campus as a whole.

In the Fall 2016 edition, the last page ‘Annotation‘ showcased the Makerspace in the library. It is a 1400 square foot space that amongst other technology, it includes a 3D scanner.

Could I please start my degree again?!?

I can’t begin to imagine how different an education these students get to receive. To be able to create a 3D model of a building, a chemistry structure or a film prop as part of an assignment. It allows students to think in a whole different plane. And yes, there is an app to make a lot of this possible.

If you had access to a 3D printer/scanner, what would you like to create? Would this type of technology have been helpful during your school pursuits? 

In the comments, please share your answers. 

Remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance – and Facebook!


Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.


Easy Swap – Banana Hemp Muffins

Easy Swap Banana Hemp Muffins | www.sproutingbalance.com | #healthy #swap #hemp

I have been looking for easy swaps to decrease our carbohydrate intake and increase our protein and good fats. Muffins are an easy grab on those busy days and require no icepack when we are on the go. I recognize that a hard boil egg or a handful of almonds would give us a higher protein kick but sometimes you just want that carb hit.

Banana Bread Muffins are often made in our house to use up the brown bananas and the nearly expired milk. Our household recipe had the sugar cut in half a decade ago; the overripe bananas are sweet so it was easy to decrease the granulated stuff. So if I wanted to decrease the carbohydrate further, I needed to look beyond sugar and tackle the flour I was using.

In order to be school safe, almond flour (or any nut flour) could not be used. I have tried coconut flour but always noticed a change in flavor. Thankfully, I have now found that Hemp Hearts can easily replace ¼ of the flour in our recipe. [Good time to mention that this is not a sponsored post and I am in no way affiliated with these products.]

What does this mean nutrition wise? Let’s compare 30g of each product:

Robin Hood Nutri Blend Flour:
100 calories
1.5 grams of fat
21 grams of carbohydrate (4 grams from fibre)
4 grams of protein

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts:
170 calories
13 grams of fat
3 grams of carbohydrate (all fibre!)
10 grams of protein

If you are used to having a fat-free diet, you are probably freaking out now. Our body needs good fat to work properly. We get essential fatty acids from our food, which our bodies need for brain development and controlling inflammation. Fat also helps us to absorb some vitamins (e.g. A, D, E).

I also find that I stay fuller for longer if I incorporate good fat and protein into my diet. And the hemp hearts provide 2.5 times the protein of the same weight of flour, so there’s the extra boost of protein I needed! Of course, I can’t forget the carbohydrate difference, 7 times more in the flour versus the hemp hearts. Wow.

I’m not leaving you with a recipe today but I am leaving you with a challenge…

Make a healthy change to your favourite recipe. Try cutting the sugar and experimenting with non-wheat flour options. Don’t be afraid to play with your food!

In the comments, please share which recipe you hope to play with and what change you are going to make.

Remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance – and Facebook!

Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

Nutritious Litterless Lunch

Nutritious Litterless Lunch | www.sproutingbalance.com | Planetbox - Healthy Lunch - Children

If you have children, the task of making healthy school lunches has reappeared in your daily chores. As parents, it is our job to ensure a balanced lunch of healthy carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and fruit is sent to school each day. We also want to make lunches in zero time so a system needs to be in place.

To make our life easier, we are a Planetbox family. What is a Planetbox? It is a stainless-steel food-grade container that is compartmentalized for easy filling and easy eating! [And in case you are wondering, this is not a sponsored post! This is my opinion about how this lunch system works for us.]

Continue reading


PROPS to The Kitchn lunchtime ideas | www.sproutingbalance.com | healthy children / kids lunch ideas to help you find balance

It is back to school so every parent begins to fear the school lunch. Do you make it in the morning or prepare the night before? Are you dependent on pre-packaged goods or is everything sliced/diced and ready to go? Are you brown bagging or bento-boxing? Below are two articles from The Kitchn to give you some inspiration. Happy Noshing!

7 Lunchbox Ideas Kids Can Pack Themselves | The Kitchn
Forgot about the children and pack these lunches for you. Click on the link for more details but here is how we apply the seven ideas: Continue reading

Cookie Sheet Tic Tac Toe Fun!

Magnetic Cookie Sheet Tic Tac Toe Fun - www.sproutingbalance.com - #magnetic #craft #game

If you go on to Pinterest and search “Cookie Sheet Fun” you will come up with a variety of ideas to entertain your child. For us, we are planning to use this magnetic cookie tray during a road trip. I am also packing magnetic letters and numbers, magnetic dress up dolls, and I have created this Tic Tac Toe game. To do this project, I had a bunch of leftover materials and an old cookie sheet. My one requirement: no spray paint!  I was looking for as little mess as possible.

My Supplies for Tic Tac Toe Cookie Sheet Fun:
– one cookie sheet
– two 12×12 sheets of card stock
– one scrap piece of card stock for decorative side
– leftover scraps of magnetic printer paper
– Sharpie (I chose gold)
– Scissors
– Pen
– Mod Podge
– Sponge Continue reading

Food Awareness

Food Awareness - www.sproutingbalance.com - #children #food #gardening

It is school summer holidays here which means my five year old is home and I’m looking for ideas to keep her engaged and learning.

Camp is often the first choice for keeping children entertained since it provides different learning opportunities including excursions. After these full days of camp then the other activities begin with several nights of baseball, soccer, or lessons of some sort.

This creates days that are long and sometimes stressful.

Who am I kidding? It’s just like the rest of the year! We have just replaced school with camp and indoor activities with outdoor. We are always busy. And what happens when we are busy? We eat out more.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of Weighty Matters discusses in his blog post how a major after-school lesson is missing: how to cook. “For the first time in history the average American family is spending more money in restaurants than they are in grocery stores.”

I’m not surprised with all the rushing we do. When does one have time to cook? Perhaps we should be adding it to our schedules as if it was a class? Wouldn’t the children get more out of a cooking lesson than another night of structured activity? And wouldn’t your wallet like it too?!? Eating is a necessity and preparing food is a Life Lesson.

We have tried to encourage time in the kitchen from an early age. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed having my toddler in a half day garden camp this past week. She had the opportunity to plant, pick, and taste a variety of vegetables and to create a curiosity and appreciation about food.

Sadly, they don’t run the garden program past age five. Here is an idea for someone out there that has the land and the skill: Farm to Table Camp.  A program where children (and adults too!) can not only learn how to grow the food but cook it too. I’m sure a winery component for the adults would make it a great success.

In the comments, please share your thoughts and ideas that have helped you SPROUT some BALANCE! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance – and Facebook!


Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.



Road Block Ahead

Road Block Ahead: Finding Calm Instead of Road Rage - www.sproutingbalance.com - #calm #driving

I spend my day going in circles.

I am behind the wheel of a car multiple times a day shuffling between work locations, my daughter’s school and her activities. Now, this can be spent in a positive state or hinge on the edge of road rage. I try to stay cool and collected but a lot of the time, the other drivers make it difficult.

This morning, as others turned up their road rage, I dialed mine down and reflected. I started thinking about how their time on the road mirrors the rest of their life. How these habits are affecting the physical and mental health of these drivers and what we are indirectly teaching our children.

Full Speed Ahead
The light turns green and the car speeds up to (or past) the speed limit in a matter of seconds … to slam the brakes on for the next red light. Continue reading